English, Bachelor of Arts

Department of English

College of Arts and Letters

Through this plan, we seek to prepare you for any future that demands competence in literature, language, and writing. Our plans help you recognize the importance of logical thought in effective expression. They also help you strive for more persuasive or creative uses of English and appreciate the truth and quality of literature.

By studying the literature of different times and peoples, you can develop your historical and cultural imagination. Our plans can also prepare you to teach English in middle- and senior-high schools, pursue careers in the corporate world, and compete successfully in graduate and professional schools.

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Comprehensive - Emphasis (beginning Fall 2021)
  • Creative Writing - Emphasis
  • Linguistics - Emphasis
  • Literature - Emphasis
  • Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies - Emphasis

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 42 units of major requirements including at least 18 units of emphasis requirements.
  • At least 16 units of language requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA C
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
Foreign Language Required
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

The Bachelor of Arts in English prepares graduates for any future that demands proficiency in literature, language, and writing, as well as general excellence in resourceful, well-informed communication. Our graduates recognize the close weave of logical thought and effective expression, strive for more persuasive or more creative uses of English, possess the sense and insight to appreciate the value and quality of literature, have developed their historical and cultural imaginations by studying the marks of other times and diverse peoples in language and text, and recognize the global contexts of English as well as the social, civic, and environmental responsibilities that come with a liberal education. Our graduates have attained the high-level literacy skills and have practiced the research methods needed to compete in graduate and professional schools and to succeed in the workplace. With our help, they have prepared themselves to become productive, responsible members of the communities in which they live and work.

The emphasis in Creative Writing provides experience and stimulation to advance students’ writing and reading skills, as well as their discipline and habits. We offer techniques to deepen students’ talents, and we demonstrate how to make writing creatively a part of students’ lives and careers.
The Literature Emphasis engages students in the study of the literary arts. Students gain an understanding of the sociohistorical context of literary production and reception and have the opportunity to study specific eras, cultural traditions, genres, and critical and interpretative methods, while simultaneously refining their skills in literary analysis. Students become well-versed in historical and contemporary discourse within the field and in the terminology used in literary studies. This work deepens their knowledge of how various texts (film, comics, video games, novels, poems, drama, etc.) evince meaning by using particular language structures, forms, and rhetorical strategies. Among other widely transferable skills, students learn how to write fluently and eloquently. They also learn how to make effective use of primary textual sources in their analyses and develop a repertoire of skills that includes the search for and incorporation of scholarly sources in support of their own analytical arguments.
The Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies (RWDMS) Emphasis engages students with a curriculum that prepares them as writers and scholars. The program emphasizes the importance of critical reading, reflection, writing, digital media, and spoken language to educate knowledgeable citizens who understand and appreciate their civic, professional, and personal responsibilities in an increasingly global community. We specialize in preparing students for intercultural and interdisciplinary communication practices in digital and traditional work settings to further global engagement, diversity, and social participation. Students gain experience with rhetorical theory and persuasive argumentation, social media literacy and multimedia writing, professional and public discourse conventions through theory-based application projects. In addition, our courses provide a foundation for workplace writing and M.A. programs in rhetoric, writing, digital media, communication, and composition studies.
The Linguistics emphasis introduces students to the scientific/analytic study of language, including such topics as how language is constructed, and acquired, and processed and how language use is affected by social and cultural factors, context, and goals of communication.

Student Learning Outcomes

General Knowledge of English

  • Graduates will know about language as a system and about language change and variation. Students will be able to identify, describe, explain, or interpret such features as grammar, language patterns, language differences, the history of English, dialects, semantics, dictionaries and lexicons, idioms, or semiotic structures.
  • Graduates will know how effective writers and speakers adapt language to various purposes in school, the workplace, civic life, creative work, and elsewhere, and to the varying circumstances of interpersonal communication. Graduates will be able to describe and explain such discourse features as rhetorical situation (speaker, purpose, audience), performative language, orality vs. literacy, print literacy vs. media literacies, style, or word-choice. 
  • Graduates will know basic concepts and terminology in the study of literature, linguistics, rhetoric, and creative writing. Students will know how to use appropriate disciplinary and professional language.
  • Graduates will know about forms, designs, and genres, including appropriate traditions and histories. They will know how formal conventions, social contexts, and audience expectations affect purposes of discourses. Graduates will be able to describe and explain such things as literary and creative genres, canons, practical and professional writing formats and genres, types of rhetorical discourse, types of linguistic phenomena, or media and web formats and genres. 
  • Graduates will know how social, cultural, and historical contexts affect personal expression; the reception, comprehension, or study of texts; and specific communication purposes for both writers and readers. Graduates will be conversant with English in global settings and with the increasing impact of international forces—the history and politics of cultural and linguistic diversity, of environmental sustainability, and of globalization—on the discipline of English.
  • Graduates will know how to read and think critically in response to a variety of texts, drawing on appropriate knowledge, concepts, and terms from the study of literature, linguistics, rhetoric, and creative writing. Graduates will know how to focus these skills on the close interpretation of texts (which could include film, signs, encoded cultural forms or messages, or graphic art, in addition to printed works) or extend these skills to the close study of empirical data or information. Graduates will know how to draw inferences or conclusions from their reading or to formulate interpretive hypotheses or arguments from primary sources or researched information.
  • Graduates will know how to write effectively in several genres and for various purposes—with appropriate design, fluency, voice, style, vividness, self-awareness, and awareness of audience or reader. Graduates will know how to invent, find, develop, and support content relevant for their writing purposes.
  • Graduates will know how to critique and to augment, rework, or revise both their own writing and the writing of others. Graduates will know how to edit for style, for grammar, and for correct spelling and punctuation according to a work’s purpose, audience, and level or manner of discourse.
  • Graduates will know how to use appropriate principles and methods of research for a variety of purposes in literature, rhetoric, writing, and linguistics. Graduates will know how to determine effective research scope, to apply and refine search strategies, to analyze and evaluate information, to synthesize and apply information, and to use information responsibly.
Applications and Attitudes
  • Graduates will know how to apply advanced academic training in English to further schooling or to public, professional, or workplace settings that demand clear, efficiently organized information-sharing; lucid expressions of imaginative thinking; persuasive, well-documented discourse; or concise, accessible expository communication. Graduates will know where and how to seek opportunities for employment, publication, continued education, public service, or personal enrichment.
  • Graduates will benefit from the experience of English as a liberal arts discipline in studies that impart intellectual growth, empower imagination, and attune responsiveness to creative expression and artful communication. Students will cultivate habits of empathy, introspection, and ethical reasoning. Students will develop resourcefulness in communication, aptitude for creative problem solving, and openness to change, adaptation, and opportunity.
Detailed Student Learning Outcomes for English BA Emphases

Major Requirements
  • This major requires 58 units distributed as follows:

    • Core requirements:24 units
    • Select an Emphasis: 18 units
      • Creative Writing
      • Linguistics
      • Literature
      • Rhetoric, Writing and Digital Media Studies
    • Foreign Language: 16 units

    Take the following 42 units with a Grade of "C" or better:
    Take at least 18 units at Northern Arizona University.

    Core requirements (24 units):
  • Linguistics Emphasis (18 units)
    • Select additional from:  ENG 121, ENG 220, ENG 223 (3 units)
    • Select additional from:  ENG 308, ENG 321 (3 units)
    • Any ENG Junior-Level Writing course (3 units)
    • ENG 420C (3 units)
    • Select additional from:  ENG 420C (may be repeated with different topics), ENG 485 (must be a linguistic topic approved by an advisor) (6 units)
Foreign Language Requirement
  • You must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English that is equivalent to four terms of university coursework in the same language. You may satisfy this requirement by taking language courses or through credit by exam. (16 units)

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • You may not pursue an English B.A and English-Secondary Education BSED dual degree.

    English courses that may be used to fulfill diversity requirements and major requirements simultaneously include:


  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.